Headteachers Letter -16th April 2021
Dear parents and carers,
Thank you for your support in securing such a positive first week back after the Easter break and we are grateful for your help in ensuring that students have returned with correct uniform and the ability to be self sufficient with equipment and stationary. I hope that you managed some time together over Easter and were able to meet family and loved ones outside, in line with the easing of national restrictions.
The lighter mornings and good weather have heralded the start of the summer term, and we will of course continue in our mission to provide the best education possible in the safest way possible in the weeks ahead.
Coronavirus Protective Measures
We welcome the Department of Education’s decision to maintain consistency with all guidelines and a reminder that all protective measures remain in place from the last term and a reminder that our full guidance can be found HERE
Face coverings in all indoor areas remain a requirement and students have again been mature and responsible in adhering to the requirements. We appreciate parents providing appropriate face coverings as well as ensuring that students have spares.
Break and lunchtimes will remain outdoors only, unless there is significant bad weather. As per national guidance, outdoor social contact is much safer, and we also try to ensure that indoor areas are as well ventilated as possible. Break times have been helped by the current sunshine this week, but it will be useful for students to have coats in case there are still colder days ahead.
As you will be aware, we did have two positive lateral flow test results this week. As per the guidance, these are then conformed by a lab tested PCR test. One case was confirmed in the Sixth Form bubble. The other, in the Year 8 bubble was found to be negative through both a PCR test and a second LFD test. This has meant that all self isolating Year 8 students were able to return to school, which I know they were extremely relieved about!
We appreciate the support of parents, students and staff in managing these positive test results so quickly, safely and efficiently. We have of course sent our best wishes to the student who has tested positive.
Thank you for your continued support with twice weekly testing of all students. We are issuing today the next batch of testing kits for students who require these and thank you to parents and students for ensuring that these are completed as per the suggested schedule.
You may be aware that vaccination appointments for individuals aged 45 and over can now be booked on the national system. This can be accessed HERE
Thank you to Year 8 parents for coping with the paper based booking system as well as consultations over zoom. Thank you also for all of the positive feedback regarding the event, as well as for the teaching staff who many parents were meeting for the first time.
At Wollaston, we believe that students benefit greatly from a coherent partnership approach between home and school. Our staff valued the opportunity to discuss with Year 8 parents the existing strengths of students in each subject area, as well as identifying targets for further improvement. If there are any follow up questions, please contact the Mr Jackson, Head of Year JacksonM@wollaston-school.net
A reminder that Thursday 22nd April is the date for the Year 12 Parents Evening. We are again booking slots on paper, via students, with consultation meetings to take place on Zoom.
Thanks for your patience and support of our school and the IT team as they continue to restore our system to new (and eventually improved) network functionality. Please do bear in mind that this is a fairly extensive process and it will take some time to reach full restoration. We are also taking the opportunity to bring in some new systems which had originally been planned for September 2021 and beyond. This includes use of Microsoft Teams for all students and staff, which we will roll out this term, in addition to some other new or revised systems. We will of course continue to provide information when each element is formally launched, and out of the adversity of the cyber attack, we hope to build an excellent cloud based ICT system.
In the meantime, please note that all emails and phone lines are fully functional. We are also using the website to post all letters home, so we trust that all usual methods of communication are open as usual. Please do get in touch if there is any information which you can’t find and our team will be happy to help firstname.lastname@example.org
Term dates for the 2021 / 2022 Academic Year
Although we know how difficult it is to plan any form of holiday at the moment, we did think it would be useful to publicise full term dates for the next academic year in the hope of a more “normal” school year ahead! These dates can be found on our website HERE
End of Year Arrangements for Year 11 and 13
As many parents will be aware, there has traditionally been an early finish to the academic year for students in Years 11 and 13 as they complete formal examinations and undertake study leave. This year – with no external examinations, the system will function a little differently. There has also been updated guidance from the Department for Education regarding the requirements to deliver full time education to students in Year 11 once they have completed all necessary work for their GCSE qualifications.
Wollaston School will retain responsibility for providing appropriate education to Year 11 until their statutory school leaving date of 25th June 2021. Once all work for courses is complete, this will not in most cases be an in person, full time, lesson based programme during mid to late June, but is likely to include an extended Sixth Form induction for students who are staying with us, remote sessions on college and post 16 provision as well as bridging work to be undertaken at home. For Year 13 students, we will also plan to offer additional sessions in mid to late June on preparing for life at University or employment as well as preparations for entering the world of adulthood!
Full details to follow, but please do note that the 25th June will be the official Year 11 and Year 13 leaving date. This is after the proposed lifting of restrictions in England on the 21st June, so the hope remains that we may be able to undertake some celebratory events with each year group, but this of course will need to be kept under close review in the weeks ahead.
Appreciation for Teaching and Learning Support Assistants
It has rightly been recognised the significant role that both teaching and support staff have played in keeping education fully operational throughout the pandemic. Of particular note is the role that support staff have played nationally in delivering in person education to vulnerable students and the children of key workers. Please see an article HERE
In terms of our own Wollaston LAW school provision, it is also absolutely correct that this simply would not have happened without the dedication and expertise of a wide range of our support staff. The article above recognises this nationally, and on behalf of our school community, thank you to all who made our in school provision function so effectively during the last lockdown. It is greatly appreciated and deserves to be “sung” about!
I hope that you enjoy a good weekend, and that the sun continues to shine as you perhaps venture out to shops and hairdressers!
Mr James Birkett